Quartet Of First-Time Winners Have Youth In CommonThey just keep on coming.
Joey Coulter, last season’s Sunoco Rookie of the Year, went to Victory Lane on Saturday at Pocono Raceway. The Miami Springs, Fla., driver became the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season’s fourth first-time winner. That’s the most first-time winners since 2009.
He joins James Buescher, the series’ only three-time winner, John King and Justin Lofton.
Coulter is just 22 years of age – a number he carries on the door of his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet.
This has been a banner year in the NCWTS for drivers under the age of 30. Four – Buescher, Coulter, King and Lofton – are the most twenty-somethings to grace Victory Lane since 2004 when five from that age group won races.
Coulter stands seventh in current points, the same place he finished in his rookie season. With the Pocono victory, he’s looking to move forward when the season’s second half begins Aug. 18 at Michigan International Speedway.
"This feels so amazing. There's no way to describe it," said Coulter, who passed Keystone Light Pole winner Nelson Piquet Jr. on a lap 44 restart. "I've struggled on restarts for a long time and we've put a lot of effort toward making them better and better."
The victory was the first in the series for crew chief Harold Holley, who won the 2000 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship with Jeff Green.
Points Race Tightens Moving To Season’s Second HalfLike an accordion, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points standings expand and contract.
Timothy Peters enjoyed the music last month in Chicago, exiting with a 35-point championship lead – largest of the season to date.
The tune went decidedly off-key at Pocono where Peters, running in the top five, was collected in a multi-truck accident and finished 22nd. He had finished among the top 10 in nine of 10 previous races with a worst run of 11th.
"The guys will put our truck back together brand new and we'll go get 'em at Michigan," Peters said.
Peters held onto the point lead – but just barely. Sunoco Rookie of the Year leader Ty Dillon scored his 10th top-10 finish and stands just eight points back entering the season’s 12th of 22 races.
Eighteen points covers the current top 10 with Buescher and previous standings leader Justin Lofton trailing Peters and Dillon.
Ron Hornaday Jr. remains the only previous series champion ranked among the top 10. Hornaday, with four titles, is eighth, 59 points out of first.
After Rocky Start, Pendulum Swinging In Crafton’s FavorAt one point earlier this season, Matt Crafton looked to be down for the count. Now don’t count him out.
With an average finish of 15.4 through the season’s first five races, Crafton stood 11th in the standings, 56 points behind then-leader Lofton. Posting his fifth consecutive top-five finish – and sixth straight top 10 – Crafton is in fifth. He also cut the points deficit to 33.
Crafton admits the switch to Toyota after ThorSport Racing’s 16 years as a Chevrolet team presented challenges not immediately met. "We had to learn all the things that the Toyota trucks need as opposed to what we were running last year," he said. "We’ve made a lot of progress and we’ve also just seen our luck turn around since we raced in Texas (finishing second)."
The trick, of course, is to keep the momentum – and to start scoring some bonus points.
"We need to focus hard on getting rid of that goose egg we have in the win column this year," said Crafton. "We need the wins in there so we can get the bonus points and we need to lead more laps every race."